Eva Schuster

Creative Language Learning and Visual Artist

Mark Making 5

Eva Lesson 5

Another journey into the unknown.
At first it didn’t seem to be challenging. Every brush makes these almost archaic marks that have a raw strength to them, sometimes powerful, sometimes wispy/nervous.

When adding marks on works in process I found it more difficult, and really felt the fear of messing something up with a tool that I don’t have so much control over.

Project 1 Making various brushes and trying them out.

My brushes from left to right
Coffee stir, T-shirt strips, string, feather, leather strips, spliced straw and whole straw.
It took some time to learn what lines each of these tools can make. The string brush quickly became more favorite, but later on with the works in process, my preference changed.

I made a ton of these, so I will only post some.

The string brush became my favorite, I practiced a lot with that one. I could make all these different marks with the same tool.

The infamous string brush: I had to make a new one for this pic since the original one is totally frayed.
1 Brush made from string
2 Brush made from string
3 T-Shirt Brush and Brush made from string
4 Brush made from string-T-shirt with String brush
Feather and String Brush

Project 2 Found mark making tools
Q-tips, tooth pics, skewers tips and bottoms, coffee stir whole, not spliced and the straw.
More T-shirt strips.
Feel in love with the coffee stir.

The toothpicks

5 Toothpicks

The wooden coffee stir made me feel like a Japanese or Chinese character maker.

The Coffee Stir
6 Wooden coffee stir stick
7 Wooden coffee stir stick
8 Wooden coffee stir stick


The Q-Tips
9 Q-tips
Q-Tip rolled

The T-Shirt Brush
10 T-Shirt brush

Project three, adding to works in process

Here I want to use different colors besides black. I used different brushes and different colors. It felt risky to change the works in process. And too many lines made it difficult to still have the whole piece hang together.
I noticed most of the tools create a nervous energy, but some are very definite like the coffee stir and the q-tips.

And I found out something interesting, I often didn’t like the new additions to a painting. But then the next day or even 2 days later, I liked them a lot. I take from that that I don’t necessarily see the beauty of something new. It might take me a day or two.

11 Q-tips, T-shirt brush, Stir
12 Q-tips, T-shirt brush, Stir, Skewer

Below: Q-Tips quickly became my least favorite, because there seemed to be too much control. The green/yellow area is all leather-strip brush. They create this nervous energy. Coffee stirs have solidity, but their outer edges are still uncontrollable.

13 leather strips and coffee stir

Below the same nervous energy, reminds me of spring.

14 leather strips

I had to redo the two below, because at first I was too timid, not much changed. Adding some bolder element helped.

15 T-shirt brush and feather
15A T-shirt brush, leather brush and feather
16 Feather, String brush, leather strips
17 String brush
18 String brush and coffee stir

These were interesting, because I didn’t have enough ‘works in process’ but a bunch of paintings I didn’t really like, so I added various marks with my new tools, and created these windows. Want to do something further with these. Not sure what yet. Maybe the next assignment.

19 String and T-shirt brush
20 String, T-shirt, coffee stir
21 String, coffee stir, tooth picks

After all that:
These two last ones, left over from the work

22 so few marks but so much on the pic, leather strips and t-shirt brush
23 Last one, my fav, it happened on the side, so to say, and each mark has its own space. Every colorful mark is made with a self-made tool, only the white areas were added with a conventional brush.

In conclusion I feel that using the ‘unpredictable’ in an intentional piece of art is challenging and most interesting.

Jane Davies
April 2, 2018 at 5:17 PM

Gorgeous work on the tools and the marks. The ones where you just show the mark of the individual tools, #1 – 10, are just beautiful. I’m a little confused by the images of the marks on works in progress #11 – 13. I think maybe you tried putting too many marks on the WIP. Try just one or two. #14, 15, and 15A are much clearer, much stronger. What are the “leather strips”? 17 and 18 are good. 19 – 21: When painting over with white or gesso, it is a lot easier to move forward if you don’t leave evenly-spaced “windows” all over the page. Be bold in your cover-up. Leave one or maybe two areas of the original painting.

Eva Lesson 5 Part 2

So here are two more tools I used:
The leather strips on the left and a squeegee on the right

The three below were more successful, I used a neutral color and made sure the mark with the home-made brush was different from the marks already on the paper. In #1 I just followed the graphite trail from before. I tried not to overload the painting with marks.

1 T-shirt brush

Here I used a different color, muted, and made a very lyrical, swirly line, it added something.

2 leather strip brush

Here I used a gray and the lyrical, swirly line, added something.

3 leather strip brush

With the 3 below: I added a lot of white, after the white had dried, I used the T-shirt mop to make marks. I tried to use the white differently to create varied windows. All the windows also have some ink marks.

4 T-shirt mop
5 T-shirt mop

This was interesting, I used the squeegee to make straight borders for the white, but then I saw how the squeegee made lines by pulling the white layer off. That became interesting. So here are marks made with a squeegee by taking paint away. Nice discovery, want to use this again.

6 Squeegee lines

The last one seemed the most interesting.